Arson destroys second shark boat - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Arson destroys second shark boat

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HALEIWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - "I'm dumbfounded."

That's what Joe Pavsek said while fire investigators sifted through the charred remnants of the "Kolohe," a boat Pavsek's North Shore Shark Adventures used to take people on tours to swim with sharks in deep water more than three miles outside Haleiwa Harbor.

After examining burn patterns and other evidence the investigators concluded the fire had been intentionally set.

It is the second time in less than three weeks North Shore Shark Adventures lost a vessel to arson. The "Kailolo," almost identical to the "Kolohe," was destroyed by fire January 7.

"I'm blown away," Pavsek added.

North Shore Shark Adventures is one of two shark tour operators in Haleiwa. Both have been criticized by people who say they attract sharks.

Pavsek told Hawaii News Now his business has matured. He said they always operate at least 3 miles from shore and no longer draw sharks to the boat by chumming the water.

Pavsek maintains his operation is safe. His customers tell us they get the thrill of a lifetime.

"I saw about five or six sharks maybe and we were in there for about 15 or 20 minutes. Yea, it was awesome," said Robbert Goverts, a visitor from The Netherlands.

Honolulu police are now investigating both cases of arson.

Pavsek has a message for the person setting the fires.

"Just remember that you are putting 17 people (employees) out of business for a little while. And we'll be back and it won't take long. So you got to keep coming back," he said.

North Shore Shark Adventures will continue to operate with its remaining shark boat. And Pavsek is already looking into acquiring vessels to replace the boats he has lost.

His company also takes people on fishing excursions out of Haleiwa Harbor. That part of Pavsek's business is called Guaranteed Catch. Customers do not pay if they do not catch fish.

The Honolulu Fire Department estimates the monetary loss from each boat fire at $225,000 ($450,000 combined).

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